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Kenya: new classrooms for 500 primary school children

09-02-2007 News Release

Over 500 schoolchildren in Orwa, West Pokot and Lorongon, Turkana District, will benefit from two new primary schools built by the ICRC.

Hon. Prof. George Saitoti, Minister of Education, will inaugurate the schools on Saturday 10 February. Other dignitaries expected to attend the ceremony in both locations include government officials and local Members of Parliament from each of the regions.

The ICRC started building the school structures in May and completed them in December of last year. In Lorogon, the primary school's capacity was extended from 170 to 340 schoolchildren by adding 4 new classrooms. The school also received a kitchen and a new store. Furniture was provided for all new classrooms. Before the extension, schoolchildren entering class five had to transition to an abandoned dispensary as a shelter.

In Orwa, only pre-primary or kindergarten children had access to classrooms leaving the primary school students with nowhere to learn. The ICRC built a new school with four furnished classrooms that can accommodate 170 children.

" We joined hands with the local communities to carry out the projects, " says ICRC delegate Alexander Knup. " This is a happy day for all of us. With the new classrooms built, pupils will learn in comfort. "

    

This is the second school project that the ICRC has commissioned in the Turkana and West Pokot districts. Following a chronic situation of inter-ethnic clashes, often over scarce resources, the organization carried out an assessment in these areas in 2004 to see where assistance was needed. It was found that students were learning in abandoned buildings or under trees while many others had fled their homes and were no longer going to schoo l at all, as was the case in Orwa. Thanks to the new school, many pupils and their families have now returned to their villages. The ICRC constructed similar schools in Kainuk, Turkana and Ritten, West Pokot. Both were inaugurated in October 2005.

Besides building schools, the ICRC assisted families in both communities by providing seeds and tools to farmers, by treating the livestock of pastoralists and by rehabilitating shallow wells. The organization also holds regular discussions with community leaders to raise awareness of humanitarian principles and to seek ways to ease tensions in both areas. 

 For further information, please contact:  

 Ann Mucheke, ICRC Nairobi, tel: +254 20 2723 963 or mob.+254 733 66 00 76  

 Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC Nairobi, tel.  +254 20 2723 963 or  mob. +254 722 51 27 28